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July 31, 2013

This federal judge just gave the Catholic Church immunity from all prosecution

Making the church pay restitution to the people raped by priests would be a "substantial burden" on their religious freedom. I am not fucking joking. Federal Judge: Catholic Church Has A Constitutional Right Not To Compensate Victims Of Sex Abuse | ThinkProgress
A federal judge in Wisconsin handed down an opinion yesterday granting the Catholic Church — and indeed, potentially all religious institutions — such sweeping immunity from federal bankruptcy law that it is not clear that it would permit any plaintiff to successfully sue any church in any court. While the ostensible issue in this case is whether over $50 million in church funds are shielded from a bankruptcy proceeding triggered largely by a flood of clerical sex abuse claims against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Judge Rudolph Randa reads the church’s constitutional and legal right to religious liberty so broadly as to render religious institutions immune from much of the law. The case involves approximately $57 million that former Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan transferred from the archdiocese’s general accounts to into a separate trust set up to maintain the church’s cemeteries. Although Dolan, who is now a cardinal, the Archbishop of New York and the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has denied that the purpose of this transfer was to shield the funds from lawsuits, Dolan penned a letter to the Vatican in 2007 where he explained that transferring the funds into the trust would lead to “an improved protection of these funds from any legal claim and liability.” . . .

July 17, 2013

Pope Francis says that Catholics who follow him on social media will spend less time being tortured in the afterlife

Reminder that the Pope is a cartoonish bureaucrat who makes shit up all day and protects thousands of rapists. One hell of a deal: Pope Francis offers reduced time in Purgatory for Catholics that follow him on Twitter - Europe - World - The Independent
Salvation – or at least a shorter stay in Purgatory – might now be only a tweet away with news that Pope Francis is to offer “indulgences” – remissions for temporary punishment – to the faithful who follow him on the social media site. Around 1.5 million are expected to flock to Rio de Janeiro to celebrate World Youth Day with the Argentine pontiff later this month. But for those who can’t make it to Brazil, forgiveness may be available to contrite sinners who follow Francis’s progress via their TV screen or social networks.

July 05, 2013

To fight Christian privilege, atheist group builds monuments on public sites

Their goal is to find every religious monument on public land--especially the Ten Commandments--and to put a monument next to it extolling the virtues of the first amendment. To Fight Religious Monuments, Atheists Plan Their Own Symbols - NYTimes.com
The group American Atheists said it had decided to put up its own monument only after failing to force Bradford County to remove the six-ton statue of the Ten Commandments that a Christian group had put up nearby. The atheist group has vowed to erect 50 more such monuments around the country on public sites where the Ten Commandments now stand alone. It says that an anonymous donor will foot that bill — the monument in Florida cost about $6,000 — and that it is hearing from atheists who are already offering to serve as plaintiffs in lawsuits if there is opposition and lead the charge in their communities. “True equality means all or none,” said Ken Loukinen, a retired firefighter in Florida who volunteers as director of state and regional operations for American Atheists. “Christianity has had an unfair privilege for at least the last 150 years. We want to level the playing field by stripping them of privilege, and bringing them to equality with all other ideologies.” The atheists’ monument-building campaign is a new tactic in a long-running battle over the boundary between church and state. Having failed to persuade the courts that it is unconstitutional for a private organization to put up Christian monuments on government property, the atheists figured they should get in the game.

July 02, 2013

Catholic priests hid $57 million so they wouldn't have to pay the victims they raped

Reminder that the Catholic Church has no business telling anyone what is or isn't moral. Cardinal Dolan transferred $57 million to a cemetery fund to shield it from sexual abuse victims.
According to documents released today, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, moved nearly $57 million into a cemetery trust fund in 2007 specifically to shield it from lawsuits by victims of clergy sexual abuse. The New York Times has the scoop: [T]he files released Monday contain a letter [Dolan] wrote to the Vatican in 2007, in which he explained that by transferring the assets, “I foresee an improved protection of these funds from any legal claim and liability.” The Vatican moved swiftly to approve the request, the files show, even though it often took years to remove known abusers from the priesthood.